Members to vote on a third contract proposal this Thursday
A second contract rejection by Meat, Deli & Seafood Workers Local 88 with Schnucks Markets on May 4 has set up the potential strike unless a reasonable solution can be reached with a new agreement set to be voted on by members on Thursday, May 20.
Members voted ‘NO’ by 67 percent on a second proposed three-year contract with the company, said Local 88 President Dan Telle. The first proposal was rejected was by a 95 percent vote last month.
Local 88 has requested strike sanction from the United Food & Commercial Workers International (UFCW), a requirement of the International by-laws. A local needs UFCW approval before it can actually strike. However, even after receiving UFCW approval, Local 88 is required to give five days notice to Schnucks before they would put up picket lines.
“It’s clear our members are not happy with the proposal. We still have issues to be resolved and we’re working hard to do just that,” Telle told the Labor Tribune. Several negotiating sessions were held after the second rejection, leading to a third contract proposal announced over the weekend
“I hope we can get through this,” Telle said. “A strike is a last resort, but you have to do what you have to do to ensure our members are treated fairly. While no one wants to strike, our members are prepared if we can’t reach common agreement.”
SUPPORT FROM UFCW 655
UFCW Local 655, representing clerks, baggers and checkers at Schnucks, will support any strike, if it occurs, said David Cook, Local 655 president, in a Facebook Live meeting with his membership recently.
“Let me be very clear, we as good union members don’t cross picket lines,” Cook said. “This local union will support the job action if it happens,” he added, noting that by contract, Local 655 members have a right to honor a sanctioned picket line without fear of retribution from the company.
“Union workers survive and thrive when they hang together,” Cook said, adding, “I hope that all workers, union and non-union alike, would honor a picket line of other workers in times of desperation.”
Local 88’s contract expired in March 2020. There had been more than 30 negotiating sessions during 15 months of negotiations before the membership rejected Schnucks first proposal on April 20.
The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service has offered its continued assistance and the UFCW sent a Bargaining Representative to assist in talks.